Print School is a regularly updated section of the website that aims to give our clients useful information on the processes behind the jobs. We view working with our client’s
as a collaborative process. These useful explanations of the processes and handy tips on how best to prepare your files will help you to get the very best results from Team.

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Submit your questions on foiling, or any other print process issues, to Simon Bucktrout (via the form below) and we may feature it in next month’s Print School. The first five questions sent will also receive a copy of the highly sought after The Process of Printing (now in very limited supply and available for £50 by contacting Simon Bucktrout for details).

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This feature: foil blocking

The basics:
Foil blocking is a dry printing process in which a thin layer of foil is transferred via a die to the surface to be printed. A combination of heat and pressure releases the pigment and leaves the image on the printed surface.

Although it is most widely known and used in its gold and silver forms, there seems to have been a recent resurgence amongst Team’s designer clients to use coloured foils, especially white, black and clear. This can achieve really striking results, such as in the example opposite, where a blue foil has been used on a blue uncoated stock. Clear foils can be extremely effective in cases such as this but on certain stocks a slight ‘mottling’ effect may appear where the fibres of the stock show through, especially if the stock has a very open and tactile surface. The coloured foil provides an excellent solution here, and nowadays it is relatively easy to find coloured foils to match a design.

Clear foils can often be much more effective than spot varnishing. Be imaginative. As well as the wide range of colours available, there is also a wide range of special effect foils, such as pearlescent, opalescent, holographic and textured.

Preparing your artwork:
Treat your foiled area as a single coloured colour plate, clearly identified as a foiled area. It is worth considering that different coloured foils achieve different results on different stocks. This can greatly affect the fineness of detail that can be achieved, especially when foiling text in very small point sizes. In general, a smoother sheet will usually be preferable in these cases. There are always plenty of samples of foiled jobs in the Team portfolio.

This sample shows an excellent result achieved by putting a blue foil onto a blue uncoated stock.

Different coloured foils can be extremely effective when combined with coloured paper.

This shows extremely fine silver metallic foil printed onto matt black paper.